Veterans deserve more than just thanks

On Veterans Day, we honor the sacrifices of thousands of Americans. We thank them for their bravery and honor, and pay our respects to the fallen. We hold large assemblies to appreciate them, but we don’t create any dialogue about the struggles veterans face today.

11% of the adult homeless population are veterans. “Many veterans can end up homeless for the same reasons civilians do,” says Support Services for Veteran Families Lead Case Manager Joy Sobczak. Sobczak works for the Midwest Shelter for Veterans in Wheaton, a non-profit organization that works to provide housing and supportive services for veterans and their families.  

Transitioning from military to civilian life unsupported is difficult. “I remember waking up in a panic, thinking I was supposed to be back on base a couple months after I got out,” says English Teacher and former Sergeant of the Marine Corps Robert Tesmond.

Some veterans, especially those who were in combat, may have to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of them attempt to self-medicate through substance abuse, which can lead to a whole host of other issues.

We should not leave the appreciation of veterans to only one day. We should not let that day go with meaningless thanks either. As a school, one of our goals should be to educate people about what is going on around them. On Veterans Day, we should discuss the problems veterans face, and how we as individuals can help them. Otherwise, the whole event is for show.

To create change in the world, we need to do our part of help veterans, and we can start by talking about it.